Interventions to increase levels of trust in society (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 941)

Abstract

Query

Identify interventions that have attempted to increase levels of trust in society. Look at what the interventions have tried to do and if they were effective. The focus is on ‘trust’ from the perspective of accountable relationships with government (e.g. over taxes) and general economic relationships. The aim is to look at the social side of state accountability and anti-corruption.

Key findings

  • It is possible to discern that interventions concerned with transforming state-society relations necessarily involve or require raising trust levels within society and/or between state-society. However, only a few of these interventions present trust-building as a central or explicit objective.
  • In contrast, descriptions of trust deficits in fragile states abound in governance and institutional reform programme documents.
  • It appears some development agencies treat ‘trust’ as a cross-cutting dimension that enters into discussions around related themes such as social cohesion, inclusion, accountability, and resilience.
  • Some interventions do track levels of trust (within society, between state-society), sometimes as a (proxy) indicator of building social cohesion or social capital, but measuring trust levels and trust-building is challenging, and techniques are still nascent.
  • Illustrative cases of interventions that have involved building and/or measuring trust levels in society have been found in four areas: (1) social accountability, (2) community driven development, (3) tax-related interventions and (4) transformative social protection. The report summarises key points found from each approach.

Citation

Carter, B. Interventions to increase levels of trust in society (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 941). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2013) 13 pp.

Interventions to increase levels of trust in society (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 941)

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